Handling step daughters????

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Handling step daughters????
32
Fri, 06-01-2007 - 7:33pm

DH has two daughters, 18 & 12. They visit and spend the night about 2, maybe 3 times per week. Because DH works long hours the two girls are use to staying by themselves and coming and going as they please. This drives me nuts! I never know when someone is going to just walk in the house, go to their room, get something, turn around and leave as the girls go back and forth from our house to their mother's house. I told DH that this is unusual to me as I have been single for the past 7 years and when my son comes to visit he STAYS and for longer than a 24 hour period.

There are times that the girls are very irresponsible, like leaving a burning candle in their room or forgetting their books, etc for school. I've told DH that we need to make sure the girls are being more responsible because their actions effect everyone from him to my son!

Besides the coming and going, and the irresponsiblity, there are times that DH's daughters talk so ugly to him. They have a tone in their voice as if dad is to blame for everything. They are only nice to him when they want him to buy them something. I've told DH that I don't like the way they talk to him and he says he doesn't either but he does nothing about it. He's afraid they won't come around if he makes them unhappy.

Anyway, I'm asking if anyone has had or is in a similar situation and how do you handle it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sat, 06-02-2007 - 9:15am

"Besides the coming and going, and the irresponsiblity, there are times that DH's daughters talk so ugly to him. They have a tone in their voice as if dad is to blame for everything. They are only nice to him when they want him to buy them something. I've told DH that I don't like the way they talk to him and he says he doesn't either but he does nothing about it. He's afraid they won't come around if he makes them unhappy."

My guess, they learned it all from mom.

In our case, exW rants awful things about their dad right to them, and encourages them to do/say the same. So, they learn NO respect from mom. In fact, mom ENCOURAGES kids to treat dad as ATM machine,....

I took son aside and told him it bothered me to hear this in my house, he can say whatever he wants someplace else, but dont be doing it in front of me, in my home or in my car where I can hear him. I wouldnt tolerate this behavior/tone with my own kids towards his dad, and I wont from him, either.

In a "normal" relationship, each parent supports the other in terms of keeping kids in line with "respect" for parents.....but in these cases, the exW is actually the one CONDONING treating the dad disrespectfully...

that's how it works here, anyhow....

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 06-02-2007 - 12:46pm

I am on the opposite end, being the custodial parent, so I don't know how much help I would be. It must be really difficult to see your DH's children not respect him, but it's really up to him to take this up w/ his own kids. Now if the kids lived w/ him full time, would he put up w/ any kind of bad behavior just to have the kids like him? I assume not. Letting them do walk all over him just sends them the message that it's ok to do that when there are no consequences. I agree w/ the OP that it might be the influence of their mother, but it doesn't mean he has to tolerate it. I know my DD would just love it if I bought her everything that she wanted, but I can't afford it. She might be annoyed about it for a while, but she will live and be a better person for having to work for some things too.

As far as the coming and going, did their dad live in this house before you moved in? Did they get into this habit of coming and going whever they wanted, because if that's what they were used to, I think it would be diff. to change that now, esp. if they have no certain days that they stay over. I think I would def. want to know what a 12 yr. old is up to though. I have 18 & 11 yr olds and visitation seems to change very frequently now that the 18 yo has her own things to do, but my ex & I at least know whose house they are supposed to be at at all times. You could point out to DH that the 18 yo might be telling mom that she's at dad's and the other way around, and if neither parent knows where she is and something happens, that wouldn't be good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Sun, 06-03-2007 - 1:09pm

My partner's teenage children disrespect him and he's the custodial parent. It's difficult to watch. There's nothing you can do to improve the situation. He has to handle it his own way.

Unfortunately, I think this is the way kids are these days...even in intact families. It's a "me" generation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 06-04-2007 - 2:06pm

I must disagree w/ "that's the way kids are these days." Kids today aren't any different than they were in the past. They learn to behave the way they were raised. I think that kids today are a little freer to say what they are thinking than maybe in the past, they were not supposed to give their opinions, but I think that's a good thing. I belive that my kids (18 & 11) respect me and their father because they are treated w/ respect, but we also don't allow them to just do whatever they want.

When I look at my 18 yo DD and feel that I'm coming to the end of raising her, at least on a daily basis, I am proud of the way she turned out. Not that we have never had an argument or that she's never done anything wrong, but I think that generally my kids don't want to do things that would really make their parents upset. When a controversial thing comes up, I generally talk to my DD about what I expect or would like her to do and why ahd she pretty much goes along. She tries to push the limits a little, but, for ex, when she was under 18 and she had to be home by midnight, maybe she would be home at 12:05, but it's not like she would just stay out all night. I know there are kids who would totally disregard what their parents tell them, but it's really the exception.

There was a supplement last week to our town paper, which only comes once a week, about young people who were chosen from diff. communities. I so admired what these people accomplished in their short lives. There was so much community service, in addition to their academic accomplishments. I just remember the one who was from my DD's high school, who was smart (got a perfect score on his math SAT), an Eagle scout and played in the school band. There were other kids who would do things like build houses for Habitat for Humanity on their school vacations. So really I don't think it's a "me" generation at all.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Mon, 06-04-2007 - 3:34pm

Unfortunately, I think this is the way kids are these days...even in intact families. It's a "me" generation.

Wow, I totally disagree with this. I just had 30 kids over for an end of the year party at my house, ranging from 9th ro 12 grade, for six hours. Not only were they respectful to B and myself, I never heard them being disrespectful to ech other, not once, all night.

If you insist on people (of all ages) treating you with respect, and having consequences when they do not, then you will be treated with respect. Children do go through the 'me' stages of developement, but they are short lived. I believe this generation is one of the most giving and compassionate. It isn't all about making money, being financially successful, it's more about doing the right thing.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Mon, 06-04-2007 - 3:35pm

Sounds like you have nice kids. I'm still not impressed with the younger generation as a whole. Yeah, I agree. They weren't born that way. So change my statement to ..."that's just the way we're raising kids today. we have created a "me" generation."

Of course, not you or your kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Mon, 06-04-2007 - 3:49pm
30 kids can be well-behaved at a party. At home is where the problem is. I was trying to make the original poster see that this disrespect is not due to the split home thing and she's not the only one dealing with it. But, from the responses I've gotten, it seems like she and I are the only ones who've seen "good" kids be rotten at home to their dad. Interesting.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 06-04-2007 - 4:08pm

I do agree that kids can be angels in public and not well behaved at home. It's the standard of behavior they are held to also. In school, if you talk back to the teacher, you will be sent to the principal's office or suspended. There are consequences. If you talk back to your boss at work, yell at him or whatever, you won't have a job.

The OP seemed to say that the kids weren't respecting their dad but that he was afraid to do anything about it because he was afraid the kids wouldn't visit him anymore, therefore, he is allowing them to have no consequences for their behavior. All studies show that children actually want and need discipline. But it's really the dad's problem, more than the stepmom. He's the one that needs to be able to say "you can't talk to me that way" or be able to say no when they want money and just look at him at the bank of dad. They will actually have more respect for him in the long run, even if they whine about it for a while. It is unfortunate that this situation exists.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Tue, 06-05-2007 - 10:11am

Yes, that is exactly what I think as well. That the kids behaviors are not having any consequences. We have said time and again that parents will feel so quilty so threatened about divorces, that they won't parent affectively. In my case, I did not ask for the divorce until I was absolutely sure it was the only way to make everyone "whole" again. That I would not feel guilty, because I felt it was the right decision. I have raised my kids trying to teach them accountability and responsibility.

If the parent refuses to hold the child accountable for their behavior, it is the parent's responsibility, not the child's. Parenting, like marriage takes work and effort, hopefully all in loving and compassionate ways. It is a daily endeavor. Children need that direction, modeling, opportunities to learn life's lessons every day, at the developemental stage that is right for them at this moment. Children want to be treated as human beings, individual human beings. Unique and precious, as we all are. But that doesn't mean no holding them accountable, and providing boundaries and guidelines.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Wed, 06-06-2007 - 10:47am

I got a little upset with DH last night but did not tell him. It was the first time that he scolded my son...at least in front of me. My son is 12 years and had left some things in the livingroom. DH told him that his things did not need to be in the livingroom at all. This upset me because my son mows our lawn, picks up his wet towels after being in the pool, puts his clothes away after I wash, makes his bed every morning, etc. DH's daughters visit Tues & Thurs and every other weekends and they don't lift a finger AT ALL. Their room is disgusting, they are so lazy that if they're hungry they won't even go find themselves a snack. They just won't eat until someone makes them something.

Anyway, my initial question was how do you deal with step children like this. I would like to treat them like my own kids but when their own father never discplines them or insists that they treat him with respect then it makes it tough for me. They ignore my requests to help out around the house. I see them being raised to be totally dependent on other people and to be terribly lazy adults!

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